A pedestrian always has the right-of-way. While pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks, they might sometimes cross the road in other areas that are less safe but that doesn’t mean they relinquish their right of way. A motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon when a driver is not operating it with complete and total attentiveness.
Some of the most common reasons why a driver might accidentally strike a pedestrian include: failing to look for pedestrians in the crosswalk during a turn; using their phone to call text or email; driving while intoxicated; reckless driving; driving way otherwise distracted.
If a pedestrian is hit by a moving vehicle, the victim can suffer significant injury such as broken or fractured bones, head trauma, brain injury or permanent brain damage, nerve damage, spinal cord injury, and potential permanent injuries possibly rendering the pedestrian to a paraplegic or quadriplegic.
Unfortunately, this type of accident is all too common in the cities around the world where motor vehicles are everywhere. Crosswalks are not always a safe place to cross from one side of the road to the other - recent studies show crosswalks as some of the most common areas for pedestrians to become a victim in an automobile accident.
Most cities have nearly 50 intersections where pedestrians have been struck at a higher than usual rate. Unsurprisingly, pedestrian related accidents have occurred higher along some busier and tourist areas. No matter how many signs, lights, newly painted crosswalks, and legislation is put into place, the onus is on the drivers of the cities to be more present and a tentative of pedestrians walking along curbs and crossing streets.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
In some cases, the pedestrian could be deemed the at-fault party in an accident. Drivers must always be on alert and watching the road to avoid colliding with any other drivers, objects, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and of course, pedestrians. Yet while a car making contact with a human being crossing the street will typically place the liability on the driver, this is not always applicable.
A pedestrian should never stop into any roadway or street expecting drivers to immediately step on the brakes to allow that person to proceed. This can be very dangerous for both the pedestrian and the driver who must now stop short to avoid an accident. The following are some of the most common instances in which a driver is typically at fault: ignoring crosswalks; ignoring traffic signs, crossing-guards, and controllers; failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian walking through a crosswalk or crossing an intersection; driving while intoxicated; passing a stopped bus while pedestrians are disembarking; driving while distracted in anyway whether via a smart phone, GPS system, passengers, or any other distraction that takes the attention of the driver off the road; disregarding posted speed limit signs.
If you have been the victim of a pedestrian accident, the onus is on you to prove that you and the other pedestrians in the area were owed a “duty of care quote by the driver at the time you were hit. The duty of care covers any and all responsibility of the driver to operate his or her motor vehicle in a manner consistent with the laws set forth in those states’ vehicle codes.
In addition, you must also prove that the driver failed to provide you with that duty of care in their actions. This might include demonstrating a clear disregard for traffic laws, driving while distracted, driving recklessly, etc. Finally, you must prove that your injuries were sustained as a clear and direct result of the driver breaching that duty of care at the time of the accident.
As per the California vehicle code, pedestrians have specific rates, but they are also bound to follow the rules of the road. Pedestrians must cross only in designated Crossing areas in crosswalks. They have the right of way while crossing in one of these areas regardless of whether there is a green light or any traffic signal whatsoever.
More importantly, any motor vehicle operator must always yield to any pedestrian who is crossing any roadway properly. If the pedestrian is struck while lawfully crossing in a designated walkway or thoroughfare, the driver involved in the accident could be held liable for negligence and be induced to pay for damages incurred from the collision. These can be physical and emotional injuries, financial losses, and medical costs incurred.
Any driver hitting a pedestrian lawfully crossing through a designated crosswalk is bad enough, leaving the driver liable for all kinds of penalties and resulting damages. But when a driver hits a pedestrian and fails to stop, the accident becomes a criminal matter in which the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor or possibly a felony based on the severity of the injuries sustained by the pedestrian.
The driver involved in a hit-and-run accident will likely depend on his or her insurance company to pay out any costs related to injury sustained by the pedestrian at the time of the accident. But if the driver does not have an insurance policy, the pedestrian could turn to his or her own insurance company for payments under the uninsured motorist portion of their policy.
Getting the Compensation you Deserve
If you were a pedestrian who has been injured in an accident with a driver of a motor vehicle, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. But you do not want to pursue the compensation on your own. An accident of this magnitude can be catastrophic and even life altering, your injuries could be severe, and the bills can start to pile up. You might be ready to jump in at the first dollar amount offered to you by an insurance company, unaware that it is far less than what you actually deserve. The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, but that won’t be enough to cover what could be a lifetime of injuries both physically and emotionally.
If someone in your family was killed in a pedestrian accident with a motor vehicle, you could bring a wrongful death claim on the behalf of your loved one in the same matter as anyone who was hit by the driver and survived. This can be particularly burdensome if the deceased was the majority wage earner of the household.
Whatever the unfortunate situation may be, you have rights and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss. But in order to get the maximum compensation possible its essential that you hire a personal injury attorney who has knowledge and experience in fighting the insurance companies in pedestrian accidents. Our team of experts have been winning these types of cases for years with awards totaling into the tens of millions.